SEATTLE – Thousands of people, including some Seattle SuperSonics legends, rallied in Occidental Park in downtown Seattle Thursday to drum up support for a new basketball arena and to bring the NBA back to the city.
The rally, led by investor Chris Hansen, began at 4 p.m. at Occidental Park. The rally included apperances by former Sonics superstars Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton and Slick Watts and former Sonics play-by-play announcer Kevin Calabro.
Several well-known Seattle bands also performed at the rally, including The Presidents of the United States of America and The Blue Scholars.
Hansen announced Wednesday that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and Pete and Erik Nordstrom, will be part of the investment group.
For Sonics fans, the rally was an important milestone.
“We finally have a legitimate arena proposal and an ownership group unmatched,” says an excited Jason Reid, founder of local fan group Sonicsgate. “This is a dream come true. It’s what we’ve been waiting for as fans.”
The rally wrapped up around 6 p.m., just about the time the Oklahoma City Thunder tip off Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat.
The Thunder used to be the Sonics before the owners packed up and moved to Oklahoma in 2008. The Thunder lead the best-of-seven series 1-0.